The next venture: Construction begins on Matsuyama Commercial Center

  • A rendering of the new Matsuyama Commercial Center being built at NELHA (Image from draft EA/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Grading work has begun for the new Matsuyama Commercial Center located at NELHA. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Ground has been broken and construction begun for a new commercial center in North Kona.

The Matsuyama Commercial Center project is being built on a 1.36-acre parcel off Kaiminani Drive, near the northern entrance to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority on the makai side of Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

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Upon completion, the center will include a filling station with six pumps, a 2,450-square-foot convenience retail store with restrooms, a commercial kitchen and a restaurant with 3,700 square feet of space, in addition to two electric vehicle charging stations and space for a future hydrogen fueling station.

Alex Matsuyama and his brothers are overseeing the project, which is being constructed by Tinguely Development.

“My grandfather always had a dream of expanding. This next venture is us following in my father and grandfather ‘s footsteps, carrying on their vision and dream of providing good service to the community, expanding and leaving something for the next generation,” said Matsuyama. The family currently owns and operates two locations — one mauka in Kalaoa and the other makai in Kohanaiki.

He said strategically, it’s a good location.

“My dad along with my brothers and I think there’s going to be a lot more growth and expansion happening in that area,” he said.

The estimated $6.1 million project is expected to be open by the end of 2022.

“My brothers and I are so excited because it is our chance to carry on the legacy that my grandfather and father created. To do it in that location to support the sustainability and local businesses down there,” said Matsuyama. “We look forward to providing good service to the community.”

Matsuyama said they plan on having the same products featured at their other stores, along with pizza, bentos and grab and go items. The store will also feature some of the products made at NELHA to showcase other businesses from inside the park.

“Even with a lot of locals, we don’t realize what’s going on down there. They are doing a lot of positive things, not just for the environment but also for sustainability,” he said.

Matsuyama has partnered with Texaco for its gas pumps. NELHA Executive Director Greg Barbour said he is looking to the project to get traction going on the hydrogen fueling station installed at the energy lab.

“I think they want Matsuyama Center to be the first one on the island. That’s what we envision in that area,” said Barbour.

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Barbour said while NELHA does not have commitments for other businesses along Kahilihili Street, it has a 2011 master plan for the 80-acre commercial area.

Email Laura Ruminski at lruminski@westhawaiitoday.com.

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